The following reviews are the views of students or alumni at this school and are unrelated to the school data and other editorial content on usnews.com. These reviews neither reflect nor impact a school's position within the Best Colleges rankings.
Like any outstanding organization, Princeton's greatest strength is its people. Admission does a fantastic job of composing a talented cohort of diversely gifted students, but the magic really happens once they arrive on campus and spend four years working, learning, and living with one another. It sounds hard to believe, but Princetonians' loyalty to the University and one another rages early and lasts a lifetime. Illuminating examples: - Princeton clothing is always acceptable attire - An overwhelming majority of students would rather stay on campus than go abroad for a semester (perhaps misguidedly...) - Over one hundred alumni from the class of 1964 registered for their 45th reunion 16 months in advance of the celebration The quality of human capital at Princeton doesn't stop with the student body, though. In fact, I would argue the caliber of Princeton faculty and administration is second to none. Each of them, most importantly, is dedicated to the undergraduate experience. And for this institutional focus to resonate at a research university is truly exceptional.
The "big picture" at Princeton inevitably includes the Princeton name. This isn't meant in a snobby way at all because I truly believe that the vast majority of people apply to Princeton for reasons other than simply being able to say they went to Princeton, but there's a certain connotation when the name rolls off your tongue. It can be good in the way that the university has fostered academic excellence for years and continually ranks among the top research universities in the world, or it might not be so great when people think of the typical stereotypes about Princeton. Yet, the Princeton name is something you begin to take ownership of once you arrive on campus. All of a sudden, you're part of over 200 years of tradition and you begin to understand a subtle language of "precepts," "the Street," and "zee groups," among other things. You feel and are an integral part of a community and so you become part of that name, which carries so much weight. And I think you have a little more pride when you say the name, the more you feel like you own part of it.
Princeton's size is ideal - there are just enough students to make studying here dynamic and fun, and to justify ridiculous expenditures on everything from student plays to bizarre scientific experiments. Princeton spends about $90,000 a year on every student, and it really spares no expense in making sure that you can achieve what you want to do. The town is a little quiet, but "the Street" which contains the eating clubs brings everyone together and is, perhaps surprisingly, a unifying rather than divisive social factor. New York is a short train ride away, and overall social options are diverse. The administration is a bit autocratic, enacting some changes with little to no consultation. Overall, though, Princeton is a school that prides itself on not denying its students anything.
Princeton is probably just the right size for the consummate college experience. It is a medium-sized school, but smaller than most of the other Ivies. Princeton has 4800 undergraduates and only 2000 graduate students, which means that we have all of the University's attention and resources. This smaller community allows Princeton to have almost a liberal arts college feel but with the resources and advantages of a full fledged, world renown research institution. The fact that every faculty member, no matter how big his ego or how famous, is required to teach undergraduates is something that sets Princeton apart from other schools. There is something to be said about a school that has the most loyal alumni in the United States. More than 15,000 alumni return to campus every year for Reunions, and more than 60% of all living alumni donate annually, which is the highest among any other school in the country. On a per capita basis, Princeton has the highest endowment dollar to student ratio, higher than that of Harvard or Yale.
The best thing about Princeton is everyone's, including staff, faculty, older peers, alumni, and fellow students', commitment to truly make your stay there as memorable and fruitful as it can be. The one thing I'd change, however, is to implement a better system to assign academic advisers. The size of Princeton is, in my opinion, just right, but that would depend on individual taste. People are generally impressed, sometimes in a good way but also sometimes in a bad way, when they discover I graduated from Princeton. I spent most of my time on campus either in my room. There is definitely a small "college town" feel to Princeton, but one of its more interesting aspects is its very limited extent; because if you wander more than 2 blocks away from Princeton you will discover the actual, underprivileged nature of the surrounding area. I have a very high opinion of the administration. One of the biggest controversies on campus was the fracas over illegal music downloads. There is quite a bit of school pride, though definitely not in customary arenas like football or basketball. The most unusual part about Princeton is probably one of its best strenghts - its wonderfully beautiful, accessible and safe campus. One experience I will always remember is the camaraderie of my flag football team. The most frequent student complaints are probably the lack of car parking on campus, sometimes the work load, and definitely thesis-work.
Princeton 07 Alum
The best thing about Princeton is that is is really an amazing place for academics. The amount of brain power on campus is pretty astonishing, and you often forget that almost everyone you meet has something that they are very very good at. The professors are great, because they're often at the top of their fields. It is really great to have the opportunity to live in this kind of atmosphere, and interact with such great minds. At the same time, there are aspects of the social life here that I would consider unideal. The eating clubs play a huge role in the social life. This can get a bit redundant, as the majority of partying on campus occurs in the same clubs with very little variation. The clubs also promote a somewhat exclusive atmosphere, as they are very selective not only in admitting new members, but also in allowing people in on any given night. The selectivity is also exacerbated by the small size of the campus, and it sometimes feels like everybody knows everything about everybody else. But in general, the people here are pretty nice and cool, especially if you look for friends in the right places, which may not be certain eating clubs. I know that I have found some great friends here, and the people I regularly hang out with It is largely the type of place where you can make of it whatever you choose to. There are so many opportunities to be taken advantage of that it would be very difficult to summarize the school. Politically, the campus is somewhat more stagnant than I may have expected. People are interested in politics, but the campus protest or demonstration is pretty rare. This may currently be due to the fact that Princeton is relatively conservative, compared with other schools.
Andrew SophomoreReviews provided by: Unigo